Energy shortage is our biggest problem


What is the biggest unsolved problem in the country? Iraq? Iran? Afghanistan? Terrorism? Social Security? Health care? Illegal immigration? Education? Roads and bridges? Hunger? The homeless?

None of the above!

Bigger than all of them is the unsolved energy shortage. Our economy's future is in imminent jeopardy. We have huge trade imbalances from the high costs of imported oil. Our nation is mortgaged to foreign suppliers. Some of our politicians retire to lobby for them. Inflation is taking hold via high fuel prices. The stock market is jittery. Our status in the world is sinking with the dollar. Capital and jobs are being driven offshore by high costs and high taxes.

We have harvested a chunk of energy through the conservation techniques of efficient building codes and auto CAF… standards. We are utilizing solar energy in homes and businesses. We have built wind and solar power farms. We have made large strides in waste recycling. We have minimized air and water pollution. There is likely no cleaner country. All of these measures are worthy and useful, but they don't supply enough new energy.

Let's mention some of the steps that led to our present predicament:

n Shoreham, N.Y. and Trojan operating nuclear plants closed.

n No new nuclear plants built in decades.

n Most efforts to build refineries stymied. (Marathon Petroleum is doing a major expansion in Louisiana.)

n Efforts to drill offshore stopped.

n Efforts to drill in ANWR defeated.

n Geothermal sources are walled off by scenic environmental objections.

The global warming crowd has gained ascendancy. Their method is to use established environmental laws in the courts to hamstring energy industries. They cleverly caused the ubiquitous gas, CO2, to be declared a pollutant. The same agenda applies to their efforts to classify polar bears an endangered species. They posture in Congress to accuse 'Big Oil' executives of profiteering. They blame mysterious 'speculators' for driving up prices. All of this to deflect blame for decades of their own active obstruction.

Far scarier is the Cap and Trade proposal just put forward by Sens. Leiberman, Warner and Boxer. Thankfully the Democrats buckled quickly in the face of Republican opposition. They promise to return next year when John McCain or Barack Obama will give the issue favorable treatment.

We have unused resources in abundance. What we lack is the political will to push back at the environmental idealists. These idealists will not accept the idea of more production of conventional supplies. Their fear of climate change has blinded their reason. Their resistance to oil drilling, nuclear power and coal mining simply must be overcome. They cannot be allowed to stymie progress any longer.

Errant political forces are pulling us into a declining economy. This political problem calls for a political solution. Voters are realizing who has misled us. They want rational leadership to come forward. The upcoming Presidential election offers the golden opportunity for a big change in direction.

John McCain is the better choice for the job. He favors nuclear power. He also knows that corn ethanol is a loser. Unfortunately he is pandering for votes in the global climate change panic by opposing new domestic oil supplies including ANWR. He is also flirting with Cap and Trade. He seems to think we conservatives have nowhere else to go. I suggest he is not immune to some Republican family advice. What he needs is a strong VP candidate to be chief of energy policy. Mitt Romney has the ideal attributes. He has major business/economics experience. He has turned around large failing enterprises. He gets things done.

Once the energy objectives are defined, and the leader is selected, John McCain's campaign will have the compelling goal that it now lacks. It's a goal that a large majority of voters will support. Other nations will salute our resolve. Ending the energy shortage will strengthen us to deal with all of the other problems that beset us.